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Third KiwiSaver provider shuts up shop

Thursday 29th April 2010

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Asteron has selected Grosvenor as its preferred transfer partner after confirming it would shut down its $33 million KiwiSaver scheme today.

The closure of Asteron's KiwiSaver scheme, flagged by Good Returns a fortnight ago, marks the third provider to shut up shop after the Australian-owned EoSaver and union fund IRIS folded two years ago.

Sean Carroll, Asteron managing director, said the firm has recommended its KiwiSaver members shift to Grosvenor because it has a similar funds profile to the Asteron scheme.

"Grosvenor also ensures KiwiSaver investors deal through advisers," Carroll said.

He said under the terms of the deal, Asteron will receive a payment from Grosvenor for each KiwiSaver client transfer to help recover administration costs.

As well, Asteron members who make the shift to Grosvenor will be given a discounted administration fee for a period. Grosvenor will also pay a slightly higher trail commission to advisers than that offered by Asteron.

Asteron members have until May 31 to choose a new provider or they will be allocated to one of the six default KiwiSaver schemes.

Carroll said the decision to close the Asteron scheme was a "logical" one given the concentrated market.

"If you look at the KiwiSaver market, 95% of members are with the top seven providers," he said. "That leaves 45 or so other providers fighting over 5% in a market with very slim margins. There will be further consolidation."

According to Carroll, while the Asteron scheme, which has accumulated $33 million and about 6,200 clients since launching in 2007, wasn't yet profitable but "we weren't losing much money either".

He said while Asteron remained supportive of KiwiSaver for New Zealand it would now focus on its core life insurance operations.

Asteron's KiwiSaver money was largely managed by Tyndall Investment Management, which is owned by Asteron parent, Australian firm Suncorp.


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